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On the Alliance for Peace and Democracy petition and 8/17 demonstration

Original published in OCLP website on 17 August 2014
Translation on 18 August 2014

We respect each and every citizen who voluntarily participated the signature campaign and demonstration, and also understand their worries.  We reiterate that occupying Central is only the last resort and, if happens, will definitely be peaceful and non-violent.  Just like the 2 July sit-in by 511 protestors at Chater Road, there will not be any confrontation with the police.  Continue reading

Chan Kin-Man: Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience.

Speech at 2 August 2014 demonstration outside of Wanchai Police Headquarters, Hong Kong
Original published on OCLP Facebook Page on 5 August 2014: Read original

The participants in today’s rally at Police Headquarters are paying tribute to our friends of the July 2 sit-in. We thank them for their fight for democracy, their self-sacrifice in bringing hope to Hong Kong, and for their demonstration of nonviolent, peaceful civil disobedience.

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Popular protest spot Civic Square closed for security works, public access limited

Cheung Chi-fai and Jeffie Lam | 17 July 2014 | SCMP

A three-metre-high fence is being built outside the government’s headquarters amid security fears after several mass protests.

Critics attacked the measure, saying it undermined the right to freedom of assembly. The fence will block what used to be free access to the forecourt, or “Civic Square” as protesters call it, in front of the east-wing entrance to the Tamar site in Admiralty.

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Why America Must Stand Up for Hong Kong’s Democracy Movement

Mike Gonzalez | 17 July 2014 | The Heritage Foundation

Loath to become the world’s policeman, the Obama administration has turned instead into its fireman. Hither and thither, the administration runs to different corners of the world trying to put out fires—today Central America, tomorrow Jerusalem, next week Syria. Such an approach may rack up air miles for the Secretary of State, but clearly, it’s no substitute for a preventive blueprint that safeguards our national interest.

As it happens, one part of the world experiencing a mini–flare up—Hong Kong—affords us an opportunity to pursue a long-term strategy pertaining to a much larger actor: China. Our foreign-policy challenges would ease considerably if China became a normal, status-quo country with elections, free markets and checks and balances that its leaders could use to manage internal tensions.

Allowing the 7.1 million people of Hong Kong to practice real democracy would let the authorities in Beijing see up close that there’s nothing to fear from a sovereign people. Over time, familiarity with democratic practices in this one Chinese city would help China’s leaders acquire for themselves the frame of mind needed to begin to introduce universal suffrage on the mainland itself.

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Benny Tai: Letter to Hong Kong Frontline Police

Original published in Apple Daily on 14 July 2014: Read Original
Translation on 15 July 2014

Dear frontline police officers in Hong Kong,

511 citizens were removed and arrested after more than a thousand people participated in the sit-in at the Charter Road pedestrian precinct during the early morning of 2nd July. Here I commend the frontline police officers on carrying out their duties in a professional and restrained manner, which proves that the frontline police force in Hong Kong meets international standards. Continue reading

Albert Einstein Institution: The Struggle for Universal Suffrage in Hong Kong

9 July 2014 | Albert Einstein Institution

Civic groups and citizens of Hong Kong struggling for universal suffrage have begun to heighten their campaign.

On July 3, Hong Kong’s pro-democracy lawmakers staged a mass walkout from a parliament session against the Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, accusing him of “willful ignorance of the people’s call for real democracy”. Many lawmakers held banners and demanded Leung’s resignation.

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Amnesty International: Hong Kong: Mass arrests a disturbing sign for peaceful protest

2 July 2014 | Amnesty International

“This was not an illegal assembly; it was a peaceful and legitimate protest under international law. The police action was hasty and unnecessary and sets a disturbing precedent,” said Mabel Au, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong. “All those being held solely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly must be immediately and unconditionally released,” said Mabel Au.

Amnesty International urges the Hong Kong authorities to release all those detained solely for peacefully protesting in pro-democracy demonstrations, after more than 500 people were arrested by police on Wednesday. Amnesty International also urges the authorities to ensure all those detained are given access to a lawyer of their choosing, after reports many lawyers had not been able to meet with their client.

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Big Four criticised by Amnesty International

2 July 2014 | Economia

The Big Four have faced criticism from human rights charity Amnesty International over an ad campaign criticising protests in Hong Kong

The firms published adverts in three Chinese-language newspapers, saying they were opposed to planned protests that might destabilise business in the Hong Kong financial district.

The adverts said protests would “inevitably” affect financial institutions and could result in multinational corporations moving headquarters from Hong Kong.

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AI: HK mass arrests send ‘disturbing signal for future protests’

2 July 2014 | Deutsche Welle

Hong Kong police arrested over 500 protesters who staged a sit-in after a pro-democracy rally, described as the city’s largest in years. In a DW interview, AI’s Mabel Au slams the police action as hasty and unnecessary.

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Amnesty International: Stop pursuing charges against peaceful protesters

2 July 2014 | Amnesty International

Petition

Dear Secretary Yuen,

I’m writing to urge the Hong Kong government to drop all investigations and criminal proceedings against peaceful protesters in conjunction with events on 1 and 2 July.

The twenty-five protesters, most of them students, under investigation for “illegal assembly”, “organizing and assisting in an illegal assembly” and “obstruction in a public place” and the five members of Civil Human Rights Front, who organized the 1 July march and are also under investigation, were only peacefully exercising their human rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression.

Hong Kong is bound by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to respect and protect the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. These rights are protected by Articles 19 and 21 of the ICCPR, respectively and also Article 27 of the Hong Kong Basic Law, sometimes referred to as Hong Kong’s mini-constitution.

The Hong Kong police labelled the assembly as an “illegal assembly” as the organizers of the sit-in protest did not apply for “a letter of no objection” in accordance with Hong Kong’s Public Order Ordinance. However, the requirement to apply for “a letter of no objection” runs counter to the international human rights law, which does not require advance approval for holding a peaceful assembly.

I would like to remind you of the concluding observations of the UN Human Rights Committee following its consideration of Hong Kong’s report to the Committee on its implementation of the ICCPR in 2013. The Committee raised concerns that ‘the application in practice of certain terms contained in the Public Order Ordinance, inter alia, “disorder in public places” or “unlawful assembly”, which may facilitate excessive restriction to the Covenant rights’ and recommended that Hong Kong should ensure that the implementation of the Public Order Ordinance is in conformity with the Covenant.

Yours sincerely,

Human Rights Watch: Hong Kong Gets Out the Vote

Sophie Richardson | 25 June 2014 | Human Rights Watch

Many Hong Kong citizens have made their views perfectly clear. From the right to participate in politics, the right to express those views, and their right to demonstrate peacefully as a means of manifesting change, international law is on their side. Who else is?

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Human Rights Watch: China: Allow Peaceful Demonstrations in Hong Kong

19 June 2014 | Human Rights Watch

“The white paper is a clear signal from Beijing to Hong Kong that universal suffrage will not be considered even in the face of mounting public pressure,” said Sophie Richardson, China director. “Not only is it unacceptable for Beijing to simply override the Basic Law and the Sino-British Joint Declaration, doing so is also likely to contribute to mounting tensions in Hong Kong, where people have waited for decades for their promised democratic rights.”

Human Rights Watch urges the Hong Kong and central governments to ensure that any decision on the 2017 chief executive elections conforms to international human rights requirements, including those of the ICCPR. Any committee established for nominating candidates for the elections should likewise reflect such requirements and be selected by universal suffrage. Human Rights Watch also urges the Hong Kong and central governments to develop a time-bound and detailed plan to put into practice universal and equal suffrage.

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China warns of limits to Hong Kong freedom as protests loom

James Pomfret & Nikki Sun | 10 June 2014 | Reuters

China warned Hong Kong on Tuesday that there were limits to its freedom and it should adhere strictly to the law ahead of a planned pro-democracy protest that could end up shutting down part of the financial hub’s business district.

As the most liberal city on Chinese soil, the former British colony has grappled with Beijing since its return to Chinese rule in 1997 to preserve its freedoms and capitalist way of life under a “one-country, two-systems” formula.

Over the past year, however, a push by democracy activists to hold protests, as part of a campaign for the right to choose candidates for a poll in 2017 to elect Hong Kong’s next leader, has stoked friction and unnerved Beijing leaders fearful of an opposition democrat taking the city’s highest office.

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Human Rights Watch: Report on universal suffrage and the freedom of assembly in Hong Kong

27 June 2013 | Human Rights Watch

“Hong Kong does continue to enjoy the rule of law and a high level of press freedom, but the lack of universal suffrage, reports of government interference, and self-censorship of the press, increasing numbers of arrests and prosecutions against protesters, as well as surveillance of protesters, are issues that pose serious threats to Hong Kong’s citizens’ enjoyment of their civil and political rights.”

In the hearing on “Macau and Hong Kong” before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, Human Rights Watch urges the Hong Kong government to ensure that the new electoral methods developed for 2016, 2017, and beyond are in compliance with international standards on political participation. Human Rights Watch also urges the Hong Kong government to revise the Public Order Ordinance to ensure that the Ordinance is in accordance with provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Hong Kong’s Bill of Rights Ordinance.

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